Health

People In The 70s Were Constantly Exposed To These Health Hazards

Secondhand Smoke Smoking had been allowed in hospitals and school zones in the 1970s. Known as passive smoking, it is still a dangerous health hazard that… Austin Alan - April 15, 2023
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Secondhand Smoke

Smoking had been allowed in hospitals and school zones in the 1970s. Known as passive smoking, it is still a dangerous health hazard that can cause serious health problems, especially in children and non-smokers. Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including at least 70 that are known to cause cancer. It can increase the risk of respiratory infections, asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and respiratory infections. Pregnant women who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of low birth weight, premature birth, and miscarriage.

To protect yourself and your loved ones from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, it’s best to avoid exposure completely. If you’re a smoker, the most efficient way to lower the risk of secondhand smoke is by quitting smoking. However, if you cannot stop smoking, you should smoke outside and away from others. Avoid smoking in enclosed spaces like cars and homes. Non-smokers can also take measures to safeguard themselves by avoiding areas where smoking is permitted, requesting smokers to smoke outside, and ensuring their workplace and home are free from smoke. By taking these steps, we can all play a part in reducing the risk of secondhand smoke. It’s important to protect the health of ourselves and those around us.

WIRED

Pesticides and Insecticides

Unaware of the health complications this was caused, the use of pesticides and insecticides peaked in the 70s. However helpful for farming, these are substances that are used to control pests and insects that damage crops and gardens. While they can be effective in controlling pests, they can also pose serious health risks to humans and the environment. Exposure to pesticides and insecticides can cause chronic health problems, including skin irritation, respiratory problems, cancer, and reproductive problems. Pesticides and insecticides can also harm non-target organisms, including birds, insects, and other wildlife. They also contribute to environmental degradation, including soil and water pollution.

To minimize the risks of exposure, it’s crucial to use these substances only when necessary and follow safety precautions. When using them, read and follow the label instructions carefully, wear protective gear, and dispose of them properly. Additionally, use integrated pest management techniques such as crop rotation, biological control, and cultural practices to control pests without chemicals. By using these methods, we can reduce the risks associated with exposure to protect our health and the environment. Let’s take the necessary steps to ensure that we use these substances safely to protect ourselves and our planet.

 

Redeeming Hampton.

Radon Gas

Radon gas is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas that can be found in the environment. It is produced when uranium in soil, rock, and water breaks down and releases radon gas into the air. Many homes constructed in the 1970s were at risk due to radon in the concrete leaking upward into residential buildings. Homes and buildings can be exposed to radon gas when it seeps through cracks in the foundation, walls, and floors. Prolonged exposure to high levels of radon gas can increase the risk of lung cancer, which is responsible for an estimated 21,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Testing homes and buildings for the presence of radon gas is crucial to reduce the risks associated with exposure. Homeowners or trained professionals can perform radon testing using test kits available at most hardware stores and online. If high levels of radon gas are detected, steps should be taken to reduce exposure. This includes sealing cracks in the foundation and installing a mitigation system. This involves installing a vent pipe and fan to draw radon gas from beneath the building and expel it outdoors. By taking these steps, it will save so much more pain later on in life.

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Freon Exposure From Air Conditioning Units

Freon, also known as chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), is still being used as a refrigerant in air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Commonly used in the 1970s for its effectiveness in keeping our homes and buildings cool, it can pose serious health and environmental risks. Freon exposure can cause dizziness, headaches, and nausea, and in severe cases, it can lead to loss of consciousness and even death. Moreover, it contributes to ozone depletion, which can have harmful effects on both the environment and human health.

To reduce the risks of freon exposure, it’s crucial to ensure that air conditioning units and refrigeration systems are properly maintained and repaired by qualified professionals. Proper disposal of old or leaking equipment and appropriate handling of refrigerants during installation, repair, or maintenance are also essential. It’s also important to handle freon with proper safety precautions, such as using protective equipment and proper ventilation. By taking these measures, we can lower the risks of freon exposure and safeguard our health and environment.

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Electromagnetic Radiation From Electronic Devices

In the 1970s, concerns about the potential harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) began to grow. The widespread use of devices such as television sets, microwave ovens, and radio transmitters had led to an increase in the amount of radiation being emitted into the environment. Researchers and the public alike were worried that this exposure could be linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, genetic mutations, and other illnesses.

One of the primary concerns during this time was the potential impact of electromagnetic radiation on workers in industries that utilized high levels of radiation, such as those in the nuclear power and electronics industries. There were reports of workers developing cancer and other health issues, leading to increased regulation and safety standards in these industries. Additionally, there were worries about the impact of radiation on the general public, with some people questioning the safety of living near power lines or using electronic devices regularly. Overall, the concerns surrounding electromagnetic radiation in the 1970s prompted further research and safety measures to be implemented in order to protect individuals from potential harm.

Credit: Hackaday

PCBs

PCBs, short for polychlorinated biphenyls, are synthetic organic chemicals that were extensively used in various industrial and commercial applications. In the 1970s, they were commonly employed as coolants and lubricants in electrical equipment, such as transformers. They were also used in other products, including plastics and adhesives. However, due to concerns regarding their toxicity and environmental persistence, the use of PCBs was eventually phased out. PCBs are a hazardous substance that can cause adverse health effects, including cancer and developmental problems, if exposure occurs.

PCBs pose a serious threat to both human and wildlife health due to their highly toxic nature. Exposure to these chemicals can cause a range of health problems, including cancer and immune system disorders. They are also persistent in the environment, as they can accumulate in the food chain. This leads to contamination of fish and other aquatic animals. Although many countries have banned the use of PCBs, improper disposal of old equipment containing these chemicals can still cause ongoing contamination, making them a continuing risk to human and environmental health.

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Dioxins

Dioxins, which are byproducts of processes like waste incineration, are a group of toxic chemicals that pose a threat to human and environmental health. These chemicals gained attention in the 1970s due to the affect they have. They persist in the environment and can accumulate in the food chain, which can lead to a range of health problems, including cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, and immune system disorders, if one is exposed to them.

Dioxins pose a significant risk to human health, even in small amounts. These toxic substances can enter the body through food, air, and water, and accumulate in fatty tissues. Dioxins can remain in the body for years, causing health problems long after exposure has ended due to their persistence. To reduce exposure to dioxins, it is important to avoid contact with contaminated sources such as contaminated food. Governments and industry must also take steps to reduce the production and release of dioxins into the environment through stricter regulations and pollution prevention measures.

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Seafood and Dental Fillings

This liquid metal had gained attention in the 1970s over the risks of its exposure. Mercury is a natural element that occurs in different forms, including metallic, inorganic, and organic compounds. Although it is used in various products, like dental fillings, mercury is also toxic and poses a threat to human and environmental health. Contaminated seafood, particularly large predatory fish such as tuna, swordfish, and shark, is one of the most common sources of mercury exposure for humans.

Dental amalgam fillings, which consist of mercury, silver, tin, and copper, have caused controversy due to concerns about the potential health effects of mercury exposure. The American Dental Association asserts that dental amalgam fillings are safe. Some studies suggest that prolonged exposure to mercury from these fillings may have adverse health effects, mostly on neurological health. Meanwhile, mercury exposure from contaminated seafood can also lead to serious health effects, especially on the development of children. To reduce exposure to mercury, pregnant women and young children are advised to avoid consuming certain types of fish and limit overall seafood consumption.

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Formaldehyde From Pressed Wood Products

Formaldehyde, a pungent gas commonly used in the manufacturing of various products, including pressed wood items like particleboard and plywood. These products were widely fabricated in the 1970s. Manufacturers utilize formaldehyde in adhesives, coatings, and other materials, and it’s also present in household products such as cosmetics, cleaning agents, and fabric softeners. Exposure to formaldehyde can lead to health problems such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, and respiratory issues. Furthermore, formaldehyde is classified as a carcinogen, indicating it has the potential to cause cancer.

Though these products are affordable and strong, they can emit formaldehyde gas into the air. When they’re new or have just been installed, it causes indoor air pollution and health problems for those who breathe it in. To reduce exposure to formaldehyde from these products, it is essential to choose items that meet low-emitting standards. Ventilating the area where they are installed reduces the risk significantly. Limiting the use of formaldehyde-containing products, such as cosmetics and cleaning agents, can also decrease exposure to this chemical.

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Vinyl Chloride From Plastics Manufacturing

It’s certainly not the vinyl we’re familiar with from the 70s, but it did originate from this point in history. Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a common plastic used in construction, packaging, and more. Exposure to vinyl chloride can cause health problems like eye and skin irritation, respiratory issues, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. It’s also a carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer. Long-term exposure to vinyl chloride has been linked to an increased risk of liver cancer and other cancers. So, it’s important to take measures to reduce exposure to this harmful gas. This was also the chemical that was spilled in East Palestine, Ohio.

People who work in the plastics manufacturing industry face the greatest risk of exposure to vinyl chloride. Inhalation of vinyl chloride can occur during the manufacturing process, and spills or leaks can release the gas into the environment, contaminating soil and groundwater. To reduce vinyl chloride exposure in the workplace, it is crucial to follow proper safety procedures, such as wearing protective gear and ensuring adequate ventilation. Additionally, monitoring the air quality in and around the workplace is essential to maintaining safe levels of vinyl chloride. To minimize exposure to vinyl chloride in the home, people should avoid using PVC products and opt for safer, more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Credit: Columbia University

Arsenic in Drinking Water

Found in rocks and soil, arsenic is a naturally occurring element. This element wasn’t at the hands of manufacturers, but was present in wells used for public water in the 1970s. Unfortunately, it can pose a serious health risk when it enters drinking water sources. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water has been linked to skin, bladder, and lung cancers, as well as other health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Arsenic can be especially harmful since it accumulates in the body over time, leading to chronic health effects. To minimize exposure to arsenic in drinking water, it’s important to have your water tested regularly and to consider using a water filtration system that is designed to remove arsenic.

Many parts of the world, especially in developing countries with weak regulations, face a major problem of arsenic contamination in drinking water. Arsenic can contaminate the groundwater from natural sources or industrial pollution. It is crucial to regularly test well water for arsenic, especially in areas where it is a known issue. There are various treatment options available for arsenic-contaminated drinking water, such as filtration systems, reverse osmosis, and distillation. It is essential to seek expert advice before choosing a treatment system to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

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Coal-Burning Power Plants

Sulfur dioxide, commonly abbreviated as SO2, is a dangerous gas that is released during the combustion of fossil fuels. A bill was passed called “Clean Air Act” in 1970 to reduce exposure in public areas. The emissions of sulfur dioxide are mostly associated with coal-burning power plants, which are responsible for the majority of sulfur dioxide pollution. Exposure to sulfur dioxide can lead to a range of health problems, including respiratory issues such as asthma and emphysema. When inhaled, sulfur dioxide can cause irritation and inflammation of the airways, leading to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In addition to its direct effects on respiratory health, sulfur dioxide can also react with other chemicals in the atmosphere to form fine particulate matter.

To reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants, a number of technologies have been developed. This includes flue gas desulfurization systems, which remove sulfur dioxide from the emissions before they are released into the atmosphere. Some power plants have switched to cleaner-burning fuels, such as natural gas or renewables like wind and solar power. Regulations and policies can also play a role in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants. Setting limits on the amount of sulfur dioxide that can be emitted and provides incentives for cleaner energy sources. It is important to continue efforts to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants in order to protect public health and reduce the impact of fossil fuels on the environment.

Motor Trend

Nitrogen Oxides From Automobile Exhaust

Automobile exhaust is a major source of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are harmful gases that can have serious negative impacts on both human health and the environment. When the 70s rolled around, more attention was brought to this issue, but to this day we are still fighting the consequences. Exposure to NOx can worsen respiratory problems, particularly in children and people with asthma. Additionally, NOx can contribute to the formation of acid rain, which harms plants, animals, and bodies of water. NOx emissions are a greenhouse gas, contributing to climate change by trapping heat in the atmosphere and rising temperatures. Reducing NOx emissions from automobiles can help mitigate these negative impacts, and can be achieved through measures such as promoting electric or hybrid vehicles, improving public transportation, and encouraging the use of bicycles or walking as alternative transportation options.

Scientists and engineers have developed several technologies to reduce the emission of NOx from automobile exhaust. For instance, catalytic converters can convert NOx into less harmful substances like nitrogen and oxygen. Moreover, some vehicle manufacturers have created cars that run on cleaner fuels, such as natural gas or electric batteries. Regulations and policies also have a role in reducing NOx emissions from automobiles. Governments can set limits on the amount of NOx that can be emitted and provide incentives for using cleaner transportation options. It is vital to continue working towards reducing NOx emissions from automobile exhaust to safeguard public health and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Mother Jones.

Particles in the Air

PM, which stands for particulate matter, is a type of air pollution that can harm human health. Research was still ongoing in the 70s, and these particles plagued residents that were exposed to it. Tiny particles, such as dust, soot, and smoke, cause PM and are released into the air by various sources. When people inhale PM, it can enter their lungs and cause respiratory problems. This especially affects individuals with preexisting conditions like asthma and heart disease. Long-term exposure to PM has also been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer and other health issues. It is crucial to take measures to reduce PM pollution in order to protect public health.

There are several strategies that can be implemented to decrease the impact of particulate matter from industrial pollution. One approach is the utilization of cleaner technologies, which includes emission controls and filters. Moreover, improved management practices can be implemented to minimize the amount of PM released into the air. To further encourage cleaner technologies and practices, policies and regulations can be put in place. These measures could be incentivized or mandated, to help achieve the desired outcomes. It is important to maintain efforts to reduce particulate matter from industrial pollution, not only to safeguard public health but also to mitigate the environmental effects of air pollution.

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Industrial solvents and cleaning agents

Industries like manufacturing, construction, and automotive frequently use industrial solvents and cleaning agents that contain harmful chemicals, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Mass production was at an all-time high in the 70s, and many issues we are encountering now are a byproduct of it. These chemicals can negatively affect both human health and the environment by contributing to air pollution, respiratory problems, skin irritation, headaches, and even long-term damage to organs like the liver and kidneys. Additionally, industrial solvents and cleaning agents can contribute to water and soil pollution. It’s crucial to use alternative substances or cleaner technologies to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals and protect both public health and the environment.

Companies can take steps to reduce the harm caused by industrial solvents and cleaning agents. They can opt for safer alternatives, such as natural solvents and water-based products, and promote the use of cleaning agents that do not contain harmful chemicals. Proper handling and disposal of these substances is also essential to prevent pollution and protect public health. Companies can also put in place policies and procedures to limit the use of harmful chemicals and encourage the use of safer alternatives. It is important to prioritize the use of safer alternatives to industrial solvents and cleaning agents to reduce their negative impacts on both human health and the environment.

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Fungal Spores in Poorly Ventilated Homes

Fungal spores are a common issue in poorly ventilated homes, especially in areas with high humidity levels. A trend commonly found in the 70s was making homes airtight, exacerbating this issue. These spores can originate from various sources like mold and mildew and can cause a range of health issues, particularly for people with respiratory conditions like asthma. Exposure to these spores can result in coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath and can even lead to more severe health problems over time. To avoid the growth of fungal spores in homes, it’s essential to maintain good ventilation, especially in areas like bathrooms and kitchens where moisture levels can be high. You can achieve this by using exhaust fans and promoting proper air circulation.

To protect the health of households and prevent the growth of fungal spores, it is also important to monitor indoor humidity levels and keep them between 30-50%. In areas with high humidity levels, such as basements and bathrooms, regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to identify and address moisture problems before they become more serious. Homeowners can also seek the advice of professionals, such as home inspectors or indoor air quality specialists, to help identify and address potential issues with fungal spores in their homes.

Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems

Legionella bacteria can cause a severe form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease, which is commonly found in water systems such as hot water tanks, cooling towers, and plumbing systems. When people inhale the bacteria, they can experience symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, and headaches. Those who are at a higher risk of developing Legionnaires’ disease include older adults, smokers, and people with weakened immune systems. In some cases, Legionnaires’ disease can be fatal, making it essential to take measures to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria in water systems. Many diseases such as this one were brought to light in the 1970s, causing a reform in public health.

To prevent Legionella bacteria from growing in water systems, you need to maintain proper water treatment and monitoring. Regular cleaning and disinfection of water tanks and pipes, as well as routine testing to ensure bacteria levels remain safe, are crucial. Set hot water tanks to a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit to eliminate any present bacteria. During warm weather, it’s especially important to properly maintain and disinfect cooling towers, as bacterial growth can be more prevalent. By following these measures, you can help protect yourself and others from Legionnaires’ disease.

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Salmonella Bacteria in Contaminated Food

Salmonella is a dangerous type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning if ingested through contaminated food. Lack of food health regulations in the 70s inflamed this issue. When a person gets infected, they may experience symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, which can be quite severe and last for a few days. To prevent the spread of salmonella, it is important to practice proper food handling and preparation techniques, such as washing hands and cooking food to the appropriate temperature. In case of severe symptoms, seeking medical attention is crucial for effective treatment and preventing complications.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can make people sick if they consume contaminated food products, such as raw or undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs. Even fruits, vegetables, and other foods can also carry salmonella, as well as animal feces in the environment. To prevent salmonella infection, people should practice safe food handling techniques. This includes washing hands and surfaces thoroughly, cooking food to the right temperature, refrigerating perishable foods immediately, and avoiding cross-contamination of foods by using separate cutting boards for raw meat and vegetables.

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Staphylococcus Bacteria in Unsanitary Environments

Staphylococcus bacteria, known as staph infections, are highly adaptable and can develop resistance to antibiotics over time. Though staph infections have plagued humans for centuries, overtreating in the 70s brought public concern. This makes treatment more challenging. In some cases, infections caused by staphylococcus bacteria can also spread to other parts of the body, causing serious complications. To prevent the spread of staphylococcus infections, it is important to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands regularly, keeping cuts and wounds clean and covered, and avoiding contact with others who have staph infections. Additionally, proper cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and equipment in healthcare settings is critical to prevent the spread of staph infections between patients.

Staphylococcus bacteria can easily spread through contact with contaminated surfaces or skin. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain good hygiene and sanitation practices to prevent infection. This includes washing your hands regularly with soap and water, avoiding contact with open wounds or skin infections, and properly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment in healthcare settings. Moreover, people who are at higher risk for staph infections, such as those who have undergone surgery or have weakened immune systems, may need to take additional precautions to avoid exposure to the bacteria.

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Aspergillus Mold in Damp Environments

Aspergillus is a mold that thrives in damp environments, like bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. This was a unique issue for the 1970s, as the products used for home construction helped mold thrive rather than restrict it. Although some aspergillus species are benign, others can produce toxins that cause health issues for people and animals. When exposed to aspergillus mold, individuals may experience respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. In some cases, people with weakened immune systems may develop serious infections. Preventing aspergillus growth is important, which can be done by keeping the home clean and dry, improving ventilation in damp areas, and promptly repairing any leaks or water damage.

To prevent the growth of aspergillus mold, it’s important to tackle the root cause of moisture, such as fixing leaks or improving ventilation. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces in damp areas can also help reduce mold growth. Those with allergies or asthma may benefit from using air purifiers or dehumidifiers to reduce exposure to mold spores in the air. If aspergillus mold is found in the home or workplace, it’s recommended to hire professional mold remediation services to safely remove the mold and prevent future growth.

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